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Reproductive Technologies

Reproductive technologies encompass a group of clinical laboratory procedures involving the extracorporeal (occurring outside the body) manipulation of gametes (eggs and sperm) and developing embryos to assist in the achievement of fertilization, implantation, and pregnancy. Common procedures to assist fertilization include: artificial insemination, in which sperm are physically introduced into the vagina or uterus to facilitate fertilization in vivo (within the body); in vitro fertilization, in which eggs are combined with sperm outside of the body; intracytoplasmic sperm insertion, in which individual sperm are physically introduced into individual eggs; and in vitro maturation, in which immature eggs are allowed to mature appropriately in vitro prior to fertilization. Procedures to assist implantation include: embryo transfer, in which developing embryos are placed physically into the uterus; and assisted hatching, in which the protective shell surrounding the developing embryo is compromised to allow the embryo to escape and implant. Embryo cryopreservation involves procedures that permit the storage of embryos at extremely cold temperatures to maintain viability for subsequent intrauterine transfers.


Keel, Brooks A., Jeffrey V. May, and Christopher J. De Jonge, eds. Handbook of the Assisted Reproduction Laboratory. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, 2000.

Kempers, Robert D., Jean Cohen, Arthur F. Haney, and J. Benjamin Younger, eds. Fertility and Reproductive Medicine. Proceedings of the XVI World Congress on Fertility and Sterility, October 1998. Amsterdam: Elsevier Science, 1998.

New York State Task Force on Life and the Law, Health Education Services. Assisted Reproductive Technologies: Analysis and Recommendations for Public Policy. Albany, 1998.

Jeffrey V. May

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Social Issues ReferenceChild Development Reference - Vol 6